10. Juli | 2023

Hannah le Roux – Sectioning Colonial Architecture

Keynote Lecture of the Midterm Workshop of the Freigeist Project "Conquering (with) Concrete"

Colonial architecture is strategic in its plan, and works symbolically - often as propaganda - in its elevations. But how does it work in section? What vertical relations do the technologies of colonial architecture create both in situ and in relation to other places that are linked in reciprocal disturbances of the surface? Following work done in environmental humanities on sub-surface worlds, as well as in Black studies on submerged violence, architectural histories can address impacts through sectioning colonial architecture. Using cuts that expose its pathologies, we can use architecture’s most abstract way of knowing against colonial architecture’s claims to neutrality in its technical dimensions.


Hannah le Roux is an architect, educator and theorist, a Guest Professor at the gta, ETH Zurich and a Senior Fellow at Collegium Helveticum. Her work evisits the modernist project in architecture in Africa, and considers how its transformation through the agency of Africa presents a conceptual model for contemporary design. From a Southern African perspective she considers how apartheid and colonial constructions erase and are overlain by other human actions. Her curation of exhibitions in Johannesburg, Venice, Brussels and Rotterdam engaged with the spatialities of diaspora coffee ceremonies and the soccer culture of earth fields through design research, and designed alterations to modernist buildings and public spaces in Johannesburg.

In 2017 she was selected as a Canadian Centre for Architecture / Mellon research fellow on Architecture and the Environment, and as a Fulbright Principal Candidate for an African Research Scholarship. She was the Area Editor for Africa for the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopaedia of Women in Architecture, 1960-2015.

This hybrid keynote lecture is part of the midterm workshop of the Freigeist project "Conquering (with Concrete) German Construction Companies as Global Players in Local Contexts" funded by Volkswagen Stiftung.

Please register for online participation under the zoom link or email the organizers if you like to participate in person in Erkner: freigeist(at)leibniz-irs.de

Complete Workshop Program

Event Information

Associate Professor Hannah le Roux, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


Event Contact

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17.15h to 18.00h
Conference Room 407 or via Zoom

Zoom Registration
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